The e-mails and texts keep pouring in and if I don’t take time to stop and answer some of them, I’ll be overwhelmed.
So as spring sports are about to explode in earnest next week, here’s the latest from the mailbag:
Q — When are you going to have your annual major league baseball picks?
A — They’ll be posted right before the start of the regular season. There are going to be some races that are going to be extremely difficult to handicap, most notably the American League Central as there’s very little that separates the five teams. Ditto for the American League East.
Q — Have you jumped on the Chicago Cubs’ bandwagon yet?
A — I always caution people when something looks to good to be true, it’s generally too good to be true. For those folks who believe the Cubs are going to win 116 games and the World Series, I say take a chill pill. They do appear to be a team without a weakness, but I need to examine them closer before I anoint them the next big thing.
Q — How do you see Kansas’ game with Maryland on Thursday playing out?
A — No one is more skeptical about the Jayhawks come NCAA Tournament time than yours truly. My alma mater has broken my heart more times than I can count, so I always look at them half-empty instead of half-full. They won their first two tourney games without getting much from Frank Mason, who is fighting a foot injury. Maryland will be a step up from Austin Peay and UConn, but I haven’t been a big Terp believer all year. Freshman center Diamond Stone should be neutralized by Landen Lucas, but the key is Melo Trimble, the Terps’ best player. KU can’t allow him to go crazy with a 27-point-plus game. I like KU by seven or so.
Q — I saw your column on the Brad Underwood hiring. How many games can he win in his first year?
A — There’s no reason he can’t win 16 to 18 if Juwan Evans and Phil Forte come back. Remember, this is a team that destroyed KU in Stillwater and was relatively young. Underwood’s hiring is being hailed by most, including top booster T. Boone Pickens, who has donated a small fortune to O-State athletics. He has paid his dues as a longtime assistant and head coach at jucos and a small D-I school. He’s earned the shot and I wish him the best.
Q — Which of the No. 1 seeds is most likely to miss the Final Four?
A — I’m sticking with Oregon because there’s two likely stumbling blocks — Duke and Oklahoma. I have Duke knocking out Oregon in my bracket, then toppling the Sooners in the Elite Eight.
Q — How can the Kansas City Chiefs possibly replace star linebacker and id="mce_marker"00 million man Justin Houston, who may miss the season due to knee surgery?
A — They don’t. Now it makes sense why they’re bringing back war horse Tamba Hali, they obviously had an inkling Houston’s knee problems were more serious than they were letting on. The Chiefs, who need to focus on the offensive line and secondary in the draft, might have to change theirplans and pick a linebacker in the early rounds.